As a kid my mom read me many times Aesop’s tale “The Boy who cried wolf” it goes like this:
“There was once a young Shepherd Boy who tended his sheep at the foot of a mountain near a dark forest. It was rather lonely for him all day, so he thought of a plan by which he could get a little company and some excitement. He rushed down towards the village and started yelling out “Wolf, Wolf”. The villagers came out to see what was happening, and some of them stopped with him for a considerable time. This pleased the boy so much that a few days after he repeated the same trick, and again the villagers came to his help. But shortly after this a real Wolf came out from the forest, and began to worry the sheep. The boy cried out again “Wolf, Wolf” louder than before. But this time the villagers, who had been fooled twice before, thought the boy was again deceiving them, and nobody showed up to his help. So the Wolf made a good meal off the boy’s flock, and when the boy complained, the wise man of the village said:
“A liar will not be believed, even when he speaks the truth.”
Lies usually arise from a low self-esteem and from the incapacity to believe that we are complete. Modern society has imposed on us a “not enough” mind set; we believe we are “not enough”, so we make up a character in order to be accepted by others, gambling on relationships and trust.
A few years ago I had a relationship with a guy that was like the shepherd boy. When I first met him, he presented himself as a spiritual, grounded and successful man. My intuition knew something was off from day one, but since the acquaintance came from trusted friends, I second guessed myself. To make a long and exhausting story short, after a few months into the relationship, he emptied a bag full of all the lies he told me ever since we met. The door slammed on my face so hard that I understood I had to learn a lesson.
I believe Integrity walks hands in hands with Truth and Respect which it is important to have for ourselves as much as for others. When we lie to others, pretending to be someone we are not, we lie to ourselves in the first place. Lying is like building a house on the sand, no matter how beautiful we make it if it has no foundation a wave will be enough to make it collapse.
Being out of Integrity is not only making up stories or pretending to be someone we are not, it is also talking too much without following up on our words. “Talkers“ might appear brilliant and successful with words but they never delivered the results, nor take the actions or show up as they promise. On the other hand, the “Doers” never waste their energy into words, in fact most of the times they listen and observe more than they talk and they just take action and DO things.
We all lie at some point in our lives, no one is exempted. I lied to my mother when I was a teenager, the biggest lie I told her was that she would heal when she was about to die. I embellished stories to get the job (or the guy) that I wanted. But most importantly, I lied to myself all the times I’ve accepted to be what others wanted me to be or do what others wanted me to do instead of being myself. Whether we lie for a good or a bad reason and whether it’s to others or to ourselves it doesn’t matter. In our hearts, we always know where the truth stands. I get it, living in integrity is not always easy in this modern society where we sometimes have to deal with sharks.
People who live in integrity will not move away at any cost from their principles and their morals, they stand in their truth and are willing to fight for what they believe in. They are not scared to face people, they say “NO” to the things they don’t feel right. They say what they think even when sometimes they know their point of view may upset someone they care about, they are aware they cannot please everyone. They are faithful to their being, even when it feels weird or awkward. They keep their promises and if something goes wrong and they can’t fulfill them, they make sure they apologize and openly communicate with the other person. They do what they say and always follow up on their actions. They care about their relationships, they give as much importance to a coffee with a friend as a business meeting. They respect others because they have a great respect for themselves and that respect comes from not being scared of showing up authentic & vulnerable.
I strive to live in integrity as much as I can and I cherish all the people that do the same. I like to be Me, not a made up character and being me makes me feel alive.
“There is beauty in truth, even if it’s painful. Those who lie, twist life so that it looks tasty to the lazy, brilliant to the ignorant, and powerful to the weak. But lies only strengthen our defects. They don’t teach anything, help anything, fix anything or cure anything. Nor do they develop one’s character, one’s mind, one’s heart or one’s soul.”
– José N. Harris –
’Til the next one